Category Archives: Things to Do in Las Vegas

Free Concert Series Line-Up Announced By Fremont Street Experience

Fremont Street Experience has released its free concert series line-up.

The “Downtown Rocks” concert series was called off in 2020 due to the pandemic, but we shared back in May the band contracts weren’t canceled, just pushed back.

Now, Fremont Street Experience is sharing a list of confirmed concerts, and we hear additional concerts will be announced soon.

Fremont Street Experience concerts

When we worked at Fremont Street Experience, we added the “Your Mom” to this graphic. It’s called a legacy.

Here’s the list of free concerts at Fremont Street Experience for 2021.

googie June 26 – Chevelle (9:00 p.m., 3rd Street Stage)
googie July 4 – Craig Morgan & Clay Walker (6:00 p.m., 1st and 3rd Street Stages)
googie July 17 – Plain White T’s (9:00 p.m., 1st Street Stage)
googie July 24 – Dokken & Lynch (8:00 p.m., 1st and 3rd Street Stages)
googie July 31 – Tonic & Sister Hazel (8:00 p.m., 1st Street Stage)
googie Aug. 21 – Steven Adler of Guns & Roses (9:00 p.m., 1st Street Stage)
googie Sep. 5 – 3 Doors Down & Seether (7:00 p.m., 1st and 3rd Street Stages)
googie Sept. 25 – Generation Radio, Featuring Jay Demarus of Rascal Flatts, Deen Castronovo of Journey and Jason Scheff of Chicago (9:00 p.m., 3rd Street Stage)
googie Nov. 6 – George Thorogood & The Destroyers (9:00 p.m., 3rd Street Stage)

Fremont Street Experience has threes stages, but two are being used for the concert series. The 1st Street Stage is between Binion’s and Circa, the 3rd Street stage is between The D and Four Queens.

It’s worth noting that while many concerts in other venues don’t start on time, shows at Fremont Street Experience almost always do.

Chevelle

Chevelle spontaneously combusts on June 26.

The Downtown Rocks shows are free and open to the public, emphasis on “free.”

Which is a key bit of information when people complain about the fact the line-up doesn’t meet their lofty expectations.

Announcements of the free concerts are always accompanied by whining about how many of the bands aren’t particularly current.

We worked at Fremont Street Experience for several years, so we can shed some light on this.

First, there are two main considerations for selecting bands for the free concert series: Cost and fans.

Tonic

Tonic plays July 21. Directed by J.J. Abrams.

While the shows are free to visitors, they aren’t free. The casinos who are members of Fremont Street Experience pay for the concerts. Those casinos are: Fremont, Four Queens, Golden Gate, Golden Nugget, The D and Binion’s.

Most of the bands booked by Fremont Street Experience cost in the $40,000 to $60,000 range.

Cost is just one factor, however.

The free concerts are a marketing tool, and as such, bands are selected based upon what fans they’ll draw to Fremont Street’s casinos.

Revenue at downtown casinos is largely driven by gambling and liquor sales. So, bands tend to be from a sweet spot in the demographic they draw. Older bands draw older fans, and older fans gamble more.

The bottom line is it’s not really about how many people attend the free concerts, it’s about who.

But enough inside baseball! It’s time to free concert again in Las Vegas.

The free shows on Fremont Street are wildly popular and often draw tens of thousands of people.

We often get questions about VIP passes, so here’s what’s up. For each concert, there’s a section up front for those with VIP passes. Back in the day, Fremont Street Experience distributed them. Now, it’s the casinos, and are largely given as a perk to their best players.

If you’re looking for a VIP pass to a free concert, ask your casino host.

If you’re not in the VIP section, concerts are first-come, first-served, so arrive early and grab your spot.

George Thorogood

At 71, George Thorogood still plucks a mean White Fang. He hits Fremont Street on Nov. 6.

Be aware that surge pricing (sorry, “special event pricing) is in effect for self-park garages on concert nights. There are some workarounds, including being a hotel guest or a member of a casino loyalty club, as that often includes free parking.

Rideshare has made parking fees moot, so if you’re coming to the concerts from The Strip, just plan ahead as Lyft and Uber have been a little spotty in recent months. Again, anticipate surge (sorry, “dynamic”) pricing for rides downtown.

Another thing to be aware of are security guidelines for concerts on Fremont Street.

Within the concert footprint, there are special security measures to navigate: No strollers, no package beverages, no coolers, no chairs, no backpacks or luggage, no glass, aluminum or bottles and no weapons (real or fake).

In the past, no masks were allowed, but that’s gotten a little murky now. This typically means Halloween-style masks, not the other kind.

At the moment, masks are optional for fully vaccinated guests.

After you double down on blackjack, double up on deodorant. Fremont can get steamy during concerts.

Bags are subject to search, and there will be wanding or metal detectors in place.

At various times, Fremont Street Experience has instituted a clear bag policy for special events, although it’s unclear if that will be in place during the free concert series.

The return of free concerts to Fremont Street Experience is another reminder Las Vegas is returning to normalcy, and live music fans can finally fan with fellow fans again.

Stay hydrated. Bring earplugs. If you see something, say something. Pre-game and hang out after the shows.

Gird your cochlea, the Downtown Rocks free concert series is back at Fremont Street Experience.

Fremont Street Experience Welcomes Back Bands, Confirms Free Concert Series

It’s been more than a year, but bands are back on the stages at Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas.

The return of live entertainment to Fremont Street was welcomed with the requisite hoopla, including onstage pyrotechnics.

Suck it, pandemic. Vegas is back.

Live music started just after midnight on June 1, 2021 (more like just after midnight on May 31), as Nevada lifted restrictions related to the pandemic.

Capacities at casinos and other venues are back to 100% across the board, and masks are now optional. That’s right, Las Vegas is fully open!

On-hand at the band kick-off were Circa owner Derek Stevens and Fremont Street Experience President Andrew Simon.

Confirming scoop we shared a couple of weeks ago, Andrew Simon mentioned Fremont Street Experience will relaunch its free concert series soon.

Simon specifically teased one of the upcoming concerts, a double bill with 3 Doors Down and Seether on Sunday, September 5 (Labor Day weekend).

Seether performs a free concert at Fremont Street Experience on Sep. 5, 2021.

A full concert series schedule is expected soon.

The Viva Vision screen on Fremont Street got a $32 million upgrade in late 2019.

In the meantime, downtown visitors get to see some great house bands, including Spandex Nation, Crush, Alter Ego, The Tony Marques Band and others.

Yes, Zowie Bowie is among the “others,” but we don’t want to encourage him.

Fremont Street, leading the world in “WTF just happened?”

Live entertainment also includes dancing DJs, which are some of the only tolerable kind.

Live entertainment is one of the big draws on Fremont Street, and are beneficial for a number of reasons.

They draw business downtown—as free live entertainment is increasingly rare in Las Vegas— but also serve to displace some of the most irksome buskers. (A number of “performance circles” are taken out of circulation when there are bands onstage.)

Bands drown out pickle tub drummers as well as other “performers” who insist upon bringing their own amplification systems, often thumbing their nose at decibel level regulations and annoying the living crap out of casino and retail kiosk employees, among many others, including us.

Fremont Street Experience still needs to get its act together when it comes to overall volume (on stages and ambient music), as it’s been years since visitors have been able to hold a conversation walking down Fremont, but overall the pedestrian mall’s party vibe remains a big draw and Fremont Street has been packed for months now, especially on weekends.

We hope to get our hands on the concert series schedule soon, and we’ll see you on Fremont.

Las Vegas to Get Pro Lacrosse Team, Both Fans Thrilled

The National Lacrosse League (NLL) has confirmed Las Vegas will get a professional lacrosse team.

Both lacrosse fans in Las Vegas were ecstatic at the news.

We are excited about this news, too, since we learned lacrosse sticks have two parts, a head and a shaft. Just saying.

Lacrosse is the Rodney Dangerfield of professional sports.

According to the NLL, the team will be owned by Joe Tsai, whomever that might be.

The Las Vegas lacrosse team will be the NLL’s fifteenth franchise.

It’s estimated Tsai paid about $10 million for the expansion team.

There’s been no announcement of where the team might play, but we predict it will be a venue featuring lots of empty seats.

We get the feeling this is sort of a downtown thing, possibly wherever the Las Vegas Lights soccer team plays. Cashman Field. Maybe Orleans Arena?

Alternatively, this venue at Circa could probably accommodate the crowds.

Circa phone booth

We’ll be here all week.

No name has been given to the new Las Vegas lacrosse team, but if they’re not called the Las Vegas Stickmen, it will be a travesty.

See, a craps dealer who uses a stick, or “mop,” to retrieve the dice is called a “stickman.”

Yes, there are female stickpersons. Moving on.

Here’s the announcement of the new Las Vegas lacrosse team, with all the hoopla you’d expect from a sport that’s even less popular than badminton.

This Tweet is a visual metaphor of why people don’t care about lacrosse.

Las Vegas is on a roll with its NHL team, the Vegas Golden Knights, and concussionball team, the Las Vegas Raiders.

There have also been rumors (we know, because we started them) that Las Vegas will soon get NBA (hey, Timberwolves) and MLB (sup, Athletics) teams.

While we are not a sports person, we don’t begrudge people their passions, as long as our tax dollars don’t pay for the places teams play. Looking at you, Allegiant Stadium.

The new team will make its debut in the 2022-23 season.

Live Music Returns to Fremont Street Experience on June 1

We’ve been getting a hell-ton of questions about this for months now, and our answer is finally confirmed: Live bands return to Fremont Street Experience on June 1, 2021.

The announcement follows the decision by Las Vegas officials to drop all pandemic mandates on June 1.

That means no capacity limits. No social distancing. No masks requirements.

Don’t get all weepy because Mermaids is in this photo, you big baby.

Yes, Las Vegas is Las Vegas again. See us and our awkward beard talk about it on KTNV.

The stages at Fremont Street Experience haven’t had live entertainment in a year, and now we’ll finally have some real music to drown out the idiots banging on pickle tubs.

This means a lot of dancing DJs (they’re money-savers, but are still considered live entertainment) and expect a number of your favorite house bands to return, although the specifics aren’t available yet.

Should all our scoop be in the form of a question?

We hear there’s even more good news on the horizon.

While the Fremont Street Experience free summer concert series was pushed back due to the COVID crisis, it wasn’t actually canceled as many assumed.

We understand many of the contracts in place for 2020 are being revamped so the concerts can be performed in 2021.

That’s right, according to our sources (we used to work there, so our sources are pretty solid), the Downtown Rocks free concert series is happening, just later than anticipated.

Fremont Street bands

The dope jams are back, or whatever the kids call them now.

The Downtown Rocks band line-up and dates haven’t been announced yet, but expect that information soon.

Bands are pretty sloppy about confidentiality, so expect some to post dates prior to the official schedule being announced.

It’s time for the much-anticipated return of live music to the stages on Fremont Street!

Expect some serious “dancing like nobody’s watching” on June 1.

Update (5/26/21): FSE has provided more details about its reopening night line-up. There are several great bands scheduled, and also Zowie Bowie. Main Street Stage: Crush, Spandex Nation, Dancing DJs; 1st Street Stage: Alter Ego, Dancing DJs; 3rd Street Stage: The Tony Marques Band, Zowie Bowie, Dancing DJs.

Las Vegas Raiders Announce 2021 Schedule

It’s still a little weird typing “Las Vegas Raiders,” but that’s because the team’s first season in Las Vegas was surreal (no fans at the games and all that).

Now, though, we’re looking at the team’s first “real” season in our shiny new Allegiant Stadium, and even people who don’t care about sports are excited.

We’re referring to us, of course. Let’s look at the schedule!

Raiders home games schedule

Of all the teams we don’t care about, we don’t care about the Raiders least!

Yes, that’s the home game schedule, but home games are really the only ones that matter. Because Las Vegas.

Oh, stop your whining.

Here’s the full schedule, you big baby.

Cheat sheets like this were created because concussions can cause memory loss. Yes, we have to ruin everything.

See it bigger on the Las Vegas Raiders Web site.

Lost in the shuffle of the excitement of the schedule announcement is the fact our new team isn’t all that great.

In 2020, the Raiders batted about .500. Which we’re pretty sure: 1) isn’t spectacular, and 2) is a metaphor from an entirely different sport.

Last season, the team lost five of their last seven games.

Honestly, the Raiders couldn’t be worse if we personally played every position on the team and we have the physique of a pregnant manatee.

We are imploring the Las Vegas Raiders to be better so we have a reason to attend a game because we really want to check out the new Raiders stadium.

We’re all helping pay for the stadium with room taxes, so we deserve a look. Free. Not paid tours, that’s lame.

Las Vegas Raiders metal detector

Allegiant Stadium has been equipped with a giant metal detector. It’s on the Internet, so it has to be true.

There’s been a lot of hype around sports as the financial savior of Las Vegas, which we hope comes to pass.

The Vegas Golden Knights have been an unmitigated success, on pretty much every level, despite the fact hockey is a sport nobody has cared about since 1980.

There have been lots of rumblings recently about other pro sports teams eyeing Las Vegas, including MLB (hello, Oakland A’s) and NBA (hello, Timberwolves). We told you about all this, but we know you don’t listen because we pretend to hate sports and that somehow undermines our credibility in breaking news about sports. Rude.

Anyway, the Raiders! Take out that second mortgage, gird your loins and get ready for some football in Las Vegas!

Speaking of loins, here’s a fun fact: NFL players don’t wear protective cups. See? We can even make football fun!

Pinball Hall of Fame Opens on Las Vegas Strip

Rejoice, pinball fans. The beloved Pinball Hall of Fame has opened its new location on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Pinball Hall of Fame operated for years on Tropicana, but now the Vegas fixture has new digs, much more space and many, many more games.

The new Pinball Hall of Fame is near the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, just south of Mandalay Bay. If you’re not into winging it, the address is 4925 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, Nevada, 89119.

You sort of can’t miss it.

Pinball Hall of Fame Strip

Las Vegas isn’t a nuance kind of town.

The new Pinball Hall of Fame is officially in “soft opening” mode, but nobody’s being turned away.

The official Grand Opening is slated for July 1, 2021.

At the moment, the hours of operation of the Pinball Hall of Fame are 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., seven days a week.

Here’s a look inside the new Pinball Hall of Fame.

We’ve been chatting with the Pinball Hall of Fame’s owner, Tim Arnold, throughout the process of building and opening the new location. Take a listen to our most recent interview.

The new Pinball Hall of Fame cost in the neighborhood of $10 million.

Now, everyone can be a baller in Vegas.

The previous location had about 250 machines. The new location, boasting 27,000-square-feet of space, will have about 700. Yes, they’re all playable.

Here’s our favorite pinball machine so far. Because, well Vegas.

There’s no fee for admission to the Pinball Hall of Fame, and about half of the machines cost a quarter. Try and think of another value like that in Las Vegas, we’ll wait.

Many of the machines being moved into the new Pinball Hall of Fame on Las Vegas Blvd. have been in storage for three decades due to space limitations in the previous venue.

It’s worth noting the Pinball Hall of Fame is a nonprofit, and all the folks who work there are volunteers. The organization has a history of donating to local charities.

Pinball Hall of Fame Las Vegas Strip

So many gobble holes, so little time.

You know we got some exclusive scoop about the new place from owner Tim Arnold!

It seems the narrow plot of land had some challenges, so one of the options considered was to build the entire venue underground. Above ground would’ve been just a parking lot and a garbage truck. The garbage truck would have been a “secret” entrance to the Pinball Hall of Fame. This plan was tossed somewhere along the way, and no, we are not making this up.

New Pinball Museum location

We liked our version of the sign better, but whatever.

Another nugget: The Pinball Hall of Fame building doesn’t need to be as tall as it is. Down the road, there are plans to build out a second level, a mezzanine, for still more pinball machines.

If the venue looks a little stark in photos, it’s because the walls were left blank intentionally. There will soon be images on the walls courtesy of a gaggle of projectors.

Yes, a group of projectors are called a “gaggle.” It’s on the Internet, so it has to be true.

Pinball Las Vegas Strip

Here’s the complete list of the classic pinball machines at the new Pinball Hall of Fame: All of them.

We are just so happy for our friends at the Pinball Hall of Fame.

The new location, and massive “Pinball” sign, are sure to raise the visibility of this Las Vegas gem.

We can’t wait until the July 1 Grand Opening, and if masks are no longer a thing, the Pinball Hall of Fame is promising an “unmask-arade ball.”

Emphasis on “ball.”

Let us know what you think of the new Pinball Hall of Fame, and tell them we sent you. They’ll probably let you in, anyway.